Portal vein thrombosis after laparoscopic splenectomy: The size of the risk

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Portal vein thrombosis (PVT) after splenectomy is a potentially life-threatening complication. Clinical symptoms may be insidious, and progression can lead to intestinal infarction and portal hypertension. Interest in PVT has increased as a high incidence has been found in the laparoscopic setting. The higher incidence of PVT found in recent prospective studies of laparoscopically operated patients compared with retrospective reports from the 1990s suggests that PVT may have been underreported. Clinical outcome depends on the extension of the thrombus and the underlying disease. Main risk factors may be myeloproliferative diseases requiring splenectomy and splenomegaly, but PVT may occur after splenectomy for any clinical indication. The extent to which laparoscopy is responsible for PVT remains unclear. Laparoscopic surgeons should be aware of the risk of PVT, and it should be suspected in cases with an atypical outcome after laparoscopic splenectomy. Once diagnosed, prompt anticoagulation therapy may resolve the thrombotic event. © 2008 SAGE Publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-270
JournalSurgical Innovation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2008


  • Laparoscopy
  • Portal vein
  • Spleen
  • Splenectomy
  • Splenic vein thrombosis


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